chapter  2
21 Pages

Theory beyond the calm ocean?

The Pacific contribution to global island archaeology
WithThomas P. Leppard, Scott M. Fitzpatrick

In this chapter, we consider the impact of bodies of theory that initially developed within Pacific archaeology but have greatly influenced areas outside of the region. This means, in practice, exploring the extent to which ‘island archaeology’ reflects the central concerns of the archaeology of the insular Pacific. We are interested in intellectual and historiographic genealogies – how did recurrent themes and concepts cross-pollinate between various island-focused prehistoric archaeologies in the 20th century, and what has this meant for island archaeology in the 21st century? We consider in particular the relationship between Mediterranean, Caribbean and Pacific archaeology, as our primary areas of specialisation, addressing why archaeology as practised in the Pacific has had an impact in one (the Mediterranean), but a reduced impact in the other (the Caribbean) of the major ‘theatres’ of global island archaeology, assessing why these barriers remained relatively intellectually impermeable until quite recently. In drawing these disparate themes together, we reflect on current theoretical trends within island archaeology; which, in this analysis, seems to be a cohesive body of inter-related interests, research concerns and theoretical approaches, rather than a monolithic and homogeneous approach.